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Carsey School of Public Policy Announces SMDP Online


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The Carsey School of Public Policy is very happy to announce the inauguration of SMDP Online, which will carry on the tradition of high quality, maximum impact practitioner training that our face-to-face programs have offered for many years. Like the other SMDP programs, these online courses will feature the most experienced practitioner/trainers in the development finance and market development fields.

The Carsey School of Public Policy is starting with two online courses – one entirely online and the other a blended  (online and face-to-face) course that will take place online and in Zambia in November. As you can learn on the courses page, these are full-length courses (around 90-120 hours over 4-5 months) that will cover a wide range of topics and engage practitioners in instantly applicable and practical learning.

Important Dates 

  • May 6 – Webinar – “Savings Groups: Building Scale and Impact through Adaptation and Experimentation.”  This is an info session that will introduce course concepts.
  • May 22 – Registration deadline for Savings Groups: Building Scale and Impact through Adaptation and Experimentation and MasterCard Foundation Scholarships. This blended course meets online and in Lusaka, Zambia (please read the Course Description and Course Fees and Registration pages carefully).
  • May 27 – Webinar – “Understanding and Adapting to Complex Markets.”  This is an info session, that will introduce course concepts.
  • June 5 – Registration deadline for Understanding and Adapting to Complex Markets and MasterCard Foundation Scholarships.

​How is SMDP Online different from other online development training programs?

SMDP Online will be using a Peer-Supported Action Learning model based on online peer support with practical inquiry and action learning in the field as a cornerstone of how our courses are designed and delivered. Giving practitioners opportunities for action learning in the field, as well as time for private learning, and reflection along with peer learning creates a strong foundation for highly relevant and useful online learning. You can read more about this approach, pioneered by the Coady Institute, at this link.

Who should enroll in SMDP Online?

Each SMDP Online course has a specific profile of practitioners who can best benefit from the curriculum, so be certain to read the individual descriptions carefully. In general, we design our courses with practitioners in mind. While those with an interest in course topics may be able to participate, with course instructor permission, students who can apply the learning within their jobs and organizations and have the ability to carry out field assignments will benefit most from SMDP Online coursework.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, thanks to the generosity of the MasterCard Foundation of Toronto, Canada, we will have a limited number of scholarships available for eligible practitioners.  There is a requirement among the eligibility criteria for awardees to be women practitioners working in Africa. See full scholarship eligibility details on the Course Fees and Application page.

Are you planning to offer more SMDP Online courses in the future?

Yes, as funding permits, we hope to offer a range of courses and certificate programs across a range of topics including community-owned and ProPoor microfinance,  adaptive mnagement practices, and related areas of learning and practice. Stay tuned and return to this page periodically to learn more!  

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